Best Birding Apps for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android Review

Here are some of the latest and greatest birding apps for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android. Three that stick out among the competition are the iBird Pro, the BirdsEye and the Audubon Field Guide to North American Birds applications. All three have field guide related information, but the BirdsEye app also allows users to see what birds have been recently sighted in specific locations and has an inventory of birding hotspots as well. Here are some of the highlights of each app:

iconView iBird Pro Guide (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad)

Features of iBird Pro Guide App:
iBird Pro Birding App
  • Interactive field guide for every species (924) found in North America, Canada, Hawaii, and all coasts and islands, even extinct birds!
  • Audubon-quality full sized color illustrations, with perching and flight views
  • Full color range maps for every species
  • Search by song, conservation status, genus, species, shape, size, color, flight pattern, bill shape and length, wing shape and more
  • Lifetime updates to bird species information

iBird Pro Guide Overview

Here's a great overview of iBird Pro features:

A user review of iBird Pro Guide app for iPhone:

"Being able to search by pattern is a killer feature. Search by length, weight and wingspan has revealed things about birds I was never aware of like being able to find the birds that have the widest wingspan or longest length. Also, thank you for letting me now sort the families by alphabetic as the taxonomic search really was confusing to me. But my favorite feature is almost an afterthought - share to hear a bird sing and see its species page. I'm using that feature to teach my daughter how to identify birds by their song and its just really fun." -BlackRail (iBird Pro Guide App is also available for Android).

View Peterson's Birds of North America (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad)peterson birding app

Features of the Peterson Birds of North America Birding App:

  • 800+ species, over 700+ bird songs, 500 bird nest & egg photographs
  • Compare similar species (illustrations, range maps and songs) on one screen
  • Create, save and share checklists
  • Records sightings
  • Zoom in to see fine detail
  • Quickfind Index
  • Browse illustrations just like a book
  • Add your own photos to each species

A user review of Peterson's Birding app:

"This app is amazing. The user-friendly interface makes it one of the most useful of the birding apps currently available, and the pictures, replete with identification points, are second to none." -Dylan

Peterson Birds of North America Review

Those of you who are Peterson guide birders will especially enjoy this app. Several reviewers have said they like it even better than having their field guide book, especially that you can instantly listen to songs in addition to viewing identification details. Like National Geo, it's also priced at an affordable $9.99. It does not have photos of the birds, but Peterson drawings instead which I think is always better for bird identification.

View Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad)

Features of the Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America App:

  • Over 6600 imagesSibley Bird Guide App
  • Every species is shown perched and in flight from above and below.
    Shows every major seasonal, age, and sexual variation.
  • Detailed coverage of subspecies and regional variations.
  • Detailed maps showing not just winter and summer range but also migration and rare occurrence.
  • Detailed descriptions of songs and calls, comparing similar species measurements of length, wingspan, and weight for every species.
    One-tap enlargement of images and rotating the device expands images further.
  • Over 2300 carefully-selected and edited sound recordings. Nearly all species are represented with multiple examples showing the range of vocalizations.
    The ability to compare any two images, maps, or sounds, side by side on the screen.
  • The ability to filter by state/province, so that you see only the species likely to occur in your location, and to further reduce the possibilities to the most common birds in that area.
  • The ability to search by distinguishing features such as size, prominent A basic personal species list that stores your sightings saved to the device

A Sibley eGuide user review:

"This is just like my field guide but now on my phone. The sibley guide is the best guide in print, and now its the best on a mobile device." - MikeSears (Sibley eGuide App is also available for Android).

View Audubon Birds App - A Field Guide to North American Birds (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad)

Features of Audubon Birds Field Guide App: Audubon Birding Apps for Iphone

  • Detailed descriptions for 760+ birds
  • 2,300+ bird songs
  • 3,500+ high-quality color photos
  • Unique search function for identifying bird by song type or pattern, wing shape, time of year, by state/province, locomotion  and more
  • Up-to-date range maps with wintering maps for 125+ migrating birds

A user review of Audubon Field Guide App:

"I think this is the best bird app hands down....the images are superior; the 2,300 songs and calls are more detailed, with more variety, and of superior quality; and the detailed descriptions of individual species' make this app an extraordinary resource for anyone, novice or expert." -inthefield

Audubon Birds App for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad Walk-Through

For those of you who prefer photos of birds for identification over drawings (which we personally do not), you may like the Audubon app better than the Peterson, National Geographic or Sibley apps which do not have photos, but drawings. The iBird Explorer Pro has both and would be our choice if you wanted phtos.

View National Geographic's Birds (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad)

Features of the National Geographic Birding App:National Geographic Handheld Birding App

  • Sort by location, size and color through 867 birds of North America
  • View more than 1600 bird images, listen to bird songs, 650 range maps, behavior and more
  • Search for birds by name and the list updates and shortens as you type in the search box

A user review of National Geographic Birding app:

"Unlike others, I have found the search features to be extremely helpful. The search will find, for example, all the gulls. If you type in the word 'gull', it instantly tells you your search matches 27 birds, If you press the 'Birds' button it will take you to where you can scroll through all 27 gulls. You can also add things like color, size and range in the search to narrow the results." - Texaslawmen

This app would be a nice companion to the National Geographic's Field Guide to the Birds of North America, for those who prefer it over Peterson field guides, and/or instead of when you didn't have your guide book with you. It's also priced relatively cheap at only $10, but that could be soon rising to $14.99. The search function seems to one of the highlights of this birding app, though we think Peterson's app is better at the same price because of added functionality and features.

View BirdsEye icon (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad)

Birdseye Birding Apps for Iphone

Some Features of BirdsEye App:

  • Powered by eBird, a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon
  • New observations are downloaded from eBird over the network
  • Over one million bird observations each month reviewed by local birding experts.
  • Map of 25,000 birding hotspots
  • Can show you where any one of 847 North American species has been seen recently ??? and even give you directions
  • Keeps a record of your life list
  • For the 470 most observed North American birds (377 additional bird content can be purchased separately) there are photographs, songs and calls and Kenn Kaufman's notes about the species.

A user review of BirdsEye app for iPhone:

"What makes this birding app for iPhone so extraordinarily useful for identifying birds is that it shows you the birds that have been reported near your location within the last several days. This narrows the range of possibilities and, combined with the beautiful and detailed bird photos, allows for rapid identification. It also gives you the locations of nearby hotspots that are open to the public and tells you what birds have been spotted there recently. While other bird field guides for the iPhone are certainly useful, this one is unique and deserves consideration by any serious birder." - Jerry Feld

We think this would be a good app to have in addition to one of the other birding apps on this page which are more for identification purposes. BirdsEye would be especially useful when you are traveling and want to see new species in locations you aren't as familiar as your home town.

View BirdLog (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)

BirdLog comes from the makers of the BirdsEye App above & thebirdlog birding app Cornell Lab of Ornithology. It's an easier, faster and more accurate way of recording birds you see instantly while out and about instead of using field books and/or entering your sightings into your computer when you return home. I know this would have saved us a lot of time when we were doing our bird surveys. This is a great birding app for anyone who likes to keep a checklist.

Some Features of BirdLog App:

  • Create lists even when there is no cell coverage
  • Quick Entry bar makes data entry fast and easy
  • Create new personal locations or choose and existing hotspot or personal location for your checklist
  • Keeps a running total of the number of species on your checklist
  • Plot the exact location of your sightings using your phone's GPS

How to Use BirdLog Review:

A user review of the BirdLog app:

"I record birds in the app as I see them, walking on a trail or yes, in a swamp. BirdLog is even smart enough to keep a running tally of the number of each species that I have seen on the bird outing. AWESOME. This is so much easier than a running tally in a field notebook and more accurate than trying to keep the tally in my head until the end of the outing." -Too Many Lattes (The BirdLog App is also available for Android).

View Bird Codes (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)

Bird Codes is a simple birding app to help youbird codes birding app learn the four-letter bird codes, aka alpha codes or banding codes. Good when recording birds in the field and unsure of the proper code. You'll also now know what other birders are talking about in forums, blogs, bird alerts, birding email lists, etc..

Some Features of Bird Codes App:

  • Search by bird name or by code
  • Contains alpha codes for all 2,078 AOU (American Ornithologists' Union) species
  • Easy to use app, only 99 cents!

A user review of the BirdLog app:

"Simple and straightforward app that does exactly what it is designed to do. Very helpful for looking up those hard-to-remember codes." - Canicas

On a side note, for those banders or ringers out there, there is a free Band Codes app that in addition to the 4-letter banding codes also provides band size as a back-up, double-check. It also gives notes when banding certain species. This one is free, but does not have all the AOU species as mentioned above. So if you are a birder, not so much a bander, get the Bird Codes app.

Whether you are a beginner bird watcher or an expert ornithologist, any of these six birding apps for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or Android device would be a great addition to your birding knowledgebase that is extremely portable. All six, we believe, are bargain prices for the amount and quality of information you receive about birds for your mobile device. Choose the app that best suits your learning style and the kind of information you would prefer most. Happy Birding!

More Bird Identification Pages:

Bird Identification - Need help with Bird ID?

Wild Bird Identification - Tips for identifying birds by sight and song.

Best Bird Field Guides - Which are the best field guides?

Bird Song Identification - Learn to id birds by song alone.

Bird Watching Tips - More birding tips 'cause you can never have too many!

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